Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Female Sex Offenders

The Truth About the Boys

According to the Child Molestation and Research Prevention Institute, sexual abuse causes harm that carries over into the child's adult life. On the Web site, they claim that studies show that this damage includes:

  • difficulty in forming long-term relationships;
  • sexual risk-taking that may lead to contracting sexually transmitted diseases, including AIDS;
  • physical complaints and physical symptoms;
  • depression, suicidal thoughts, and suicide;
  • links to failure of the immune system and to increases in illnesses, hospitalizations, and early deaths.

In a 2004 study, commissioned by the Department of Education, author Charol Shakeshaft indicates that nearly ten percent of U.S. public school students have experienced sexual advances from school employees. While not all of these abusers are teachers, and certainly a small percent involves female offenders, it's still a disturbingly high number. The report was titled "Educator Sexual Misconduct: A Synthesis of Existing Literature," and within this ten percent are students who have reported unwanted sexual innuendo, as well as groping, inappropriate invitations, and even outright rape.

Shakeshift insists that educator misconduct is "woefully understudied." Among their seductive behaviors are deception, gift-giving, isolation, understanding, gradually increase in inappropriate touching, and other methods to make them feel complicit in sexual activity. "Often the teachers target vulnerable or marginal students who are grateful for the attention." It's a desensitization process that works more quickly with boys, and includes tests to see if they will remain silent and secretive. Often the teacher will provide additional help that leaves the child alone with them, creating the aura of a special relationship.

When children do go to authorities, they might find they're not believed, which adds another level of harm. Now they'll really feel isolated. The report states that this fear is top on the list of reasons why children say they don't come forward, and so the abuse continues perhaps longer than it might.

Mathews states that many adolescent boys abused by women become rapists and sex offenders, targeting girls. "There is an alarmingly high rate of sexual abuse by females in the backgrounds of rapists, sex offenders, and sexually aggressive men." He cites one study finding 59%, another 66%, and a third from 1993 stating that it is 80%. The implication is that they are expressing rage against women for being at least psychologically violated themselves.

Hislop and Warren agree. "A number of researchers have found that children who have been abused by females have often experienced significant difficulties." In one study, the boys said that the immediate effects of being molested by women were devastating. Other studies indicate that they experience adjustment disorders and have problems in relationships or parenting. Many also experience sexual identity issues.

Issues that have not yet been addressed with this population of victims involve the way the boys are maneuvered into becoming sexual accomplices. We can look at another study for that and apply those findings.

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